Taxi drivers and chauffeurs drive people to and from the places they need to go, such as homes, workplaces, airports, and shopping centers. They must know their way around a city in order to take both residents and visitors to their destinations.
Taxi drivers and chauffeurs typically do the following:
Drive taxicabs, limousines, company cars, or privately owned vehicles to transport passengers
Pick up passengers and listen to where they want to go
Help passengers load and unload their luggage
Obey all traffic laws
Collect fares, including allowed extra charges
Check the car for problems and do basic maintenance
Keep the inside and outside of their car clean
Operate wheelchair lifts when needed
Keep a record of miles traveled
Taxi drivers and chauffeurs must stay alert and monitor the conditions of the road. They have to take precautions to ensure their passengers' safety, especially in heavy traffic or bad weather. Taxi drivers and chauffeurs must also follow all vehicle-for-hire or livery regulations, such as where they can pick up passengers and how much they can charge.
Good drivers are familiar with the streets in the areas they serve. They choose the most efficient routes, considering the traffic at that time of day. They know where the most frequently requested destinations are, such as airports, train stations, convention centers, hotels, and other points of interest. They also know where to find fire and police stations and hospitals in case of an emergency.
Taxi drivers, also called cab drivers or cabbies, generally use a meter to determine the fare when a passenger requests a destination. Many customers request a cab by calling a central dispatcher who then tells the taxi driver the pickup location. Some drivers pick up passengers waiting in lines at cabstands or in the taxi line at airports, train stations, and hotels. In some large cities, cabbies drive around the streets looking for passengers, although this is not legal in all cities.
Ride-hailing drivers pick up passengers who request service through a smartphone app. The fare rate can fluctuate depending on demand, however passengers are notified if the current fare rate is higher than usual. Passengers pay for the ride through a credit card that is linked to the app. Drivers use their own private vehicles and set their own hours.
Chauffeurs take passengers on prearranged trips. They operate limousines, vans, or private cars. They may work for hire for single trips or they may work for a person, a private business, or for a government agency. Customer service is important for chauffeurs, especially luxury car drivers. Some do the duties of executive assistants, acting as driver, secretary, and itinerary planner. Other chauffeurs drive large vans between airports or train stations and hotels.
Paratransit drivers transport people with special needs, such as the elderly or those with disabilities. They operate specially equipped vehicles designed to help people with a variety of needs in nonemergency situations. For example, their vehicles may be equipped with wheelchair lifts, and the driver helps a passenger with boarding.